Document Directory

01 Mar 01 - CJD - Possible New Test Finds Mad Cow Disease in Blood
01 Mar 01 - CJD - McDonald's says not out of Mad Cow woods yet-CFO
01 Mar 01 - CJD - Marker May Be Test for 'Mad Cow'-Like Diseases
01 Mar 01 - CJD - Step Cited Toward Mad Cow Diagnosis
01 Mar 01 - CJD - EU summit unlikely to discuss BSE financing -Sweden
01 Mar 01 - CJD - France pledges BSE aid
01 Mar 01 - CJD - Food frights mount in Europe
01 Mar 01 - CJD - Demand for beef down by almost one-tenth in Latvia
01 Mar 01 - CJD - North American Meat Industry Wary of Disease
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Danish specialists to discuss possible assistance in diagnosing BSE
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Latvia to wait for official conclusion on BSE case in Sweden
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Latvia to wait for official conclusion on BSE case in Finland
28 Feb 01 - CJD - New surgical instruments could help reduce Risk of vCJD
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Finland quarantines dairy farm in BSE scare
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Amber Waves: Nothing yet decided in court concerning Oprah, Mad Cow disease
28 Feb 01 - CJD - The specifics of Mad Cow disease
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Spain's Fighting Bulls Stampeded by Mad Cow crisis
28 Feb 01 - CJD - IGEN, British researchers developing Mad Cow test
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Finland probes first suspected Mad Cow case
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Spain govt veterinarian expects 3-7 new cases weekly
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Two New Cases of Mad Cow Disease Found in France
28 Feb 01 - CJD - PluggedIn: Canadian technology to track cattle dangers digitally
28 Feb 01 - CJD - EU summit unlikely to discuss BSE financing -Sweden
28 Feb 01 - CJD - Public assured on Mad Cow disease
26 Feb 01 - CJD - EU Commission sees no more money to compensate farmers over meat crisis
26 Feb 01 - CJD - Farmers battle police as EU discusses BSE crisis
26 Feb 01 - CJD - Clashes Ahead of EU Talks on BSE, Foot-And-Mouth
26 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad ban
26 Feb 01 - CJD - Clinic Tests Breast Milk for Mad Cow Disease
26 Feb 01 - CJD - Farmers, police clash ahead of EU crisis talks
26 Feb 01 - CJD - UK builds 5th power plant to burn cattle carcasses
26 Feb 01 - CJD - ICMSA seeks rejection of CAP reform plans
26 Feb 01 - CJD - EU ministers in crisis talks over BSE and foot-and-mouth
25 Feb 01 - CJD - Slack Sales, Mad-Cow Disease Worries Hurt McDonald's



01 Mar 01 - CJD - Possible New Test Finds Mad Cow Disease in Blood

Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

Altavista--Thursday 1 March 2001


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British researchers said on Wednesday they had found a surprising new effect of Mad Cow disease on the body and that it might lead to a blood test for the disease.

They found a gene that is strongly affected in animals stricken with Mad Cow disease, known formally as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or scrapie, the related disease in sheep.

Their findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, suggest the disease has a previously unknown effect on blood cells -- and might open up avenues for treating it.

BSE first swept through British herds in the 1980s, causing millions of animals to be slaughtered and burned and sparking a health scare when it was found people could get a related disease, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), from eating infected beef products.

It has now started turning up in herds elsewhere in Europe, again panicking the public and farmers alike. Tests for the brain-wasting disease are available, but they can only be performed on brain tissue or tonsils and are difficult and expensive.

Michael Clinton and colleagues at Britain's Roslin Institute knew the disease could be detected elsewhere, and looked for an easy marker, such as a protein, in lymph, spleen and other tissues.

They found their marker in an unexpected place -- immature red blood cells.

They wrote in Nature Medicine that tissues containing those cells, including bone marrow, showed lower-than-usual expression, or activity, of a gene known as erythroid differentiation-related factor (EDRF). Erythroid cells are red blood cells.

The first tests were done in BSE-infected mice, but they found the same effects in the bone marrow of cattle with BSE and in the blood of sheep with scrapie.

EDRF was also seen in humans, Clinton said. ``It is definitely expressed in human blood in healthy humans,'' he said in a telephone interview.

NEXT STEP IS PEOPLE WITH MAD COW-LIKE DISEASE

The next step is to see if the gene is affected in people with CJD. ``What we want to look at is vCJD, classical CJDs and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's,'' he said.

It might be that reduced EDRF was caused by damage to the brain or central nervous system, Clinton said, and it may not be specific to BSE-like diseases.

Another important step is finding out what EDRF does. The gene is expressed in red blood precursor cells, which are immature blood cells. They are found in the bone marrow and in circulating blood. Understanding this function may shed some light on this mysterious disease caused by deformed proteins known as prions.

It was also not quite clear what lower-than-usual expression of the EDRF gene might mean, Clinton said. It could be that cells are producing lower amounts of the EDRF protein, or it could mean those cells are being destroyed or are not maturing normally in the first place.

``We may just see less of it because there is less of the gene around,'' Clinton said.

But he hopes the finding can lead to a blood test. Nearly 90 people have died or are dying of vCJD in Britain and France, and so-called classical CJD, a brain disease of unknown cause, affects about one in a million of the population.

Adriano Aguzzi, a prion disease expert at the University of Zurich, said it was urgent that a test be developed.

``The fundamental question that underlies the BSE turmoil is: How can we be sure that the meat we are eating comes from BSE-free cattle?'' Aguzzi wrote in a commentary.

``This question is reasonable, as most European countries, in a display of almost criminal incompetence, failed to ensure removal of bovine brains and spinal cords from meat prepared for human consumption -- the single most important measure in preventing transmission of prions.''

Aguzzi said it looked like the test may well work for Mad Cow and related diseases, whether EDRF has anything to do with the diseases themselves or not. He suggested if it turned out the disease affected bone marrow cells, perhaps a bone marrow transplant could be used to treat CJD.


01 Mar 01 - CJD - McDonald's says not out of Mad Cow woods yet-CFO

Reuters

Altavista--Thursday 1 March 2001


CHICAGO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp. on Wednesday said Mad Cow concerns continue to impact first-quarter sales in some European countries, but the company has seen a rebound in France, the first market hurt by the beef scare on the Continent.

``The consumer confidence issues are still there,'' Chief Financial Officer Mike Conley told investors Wednesday. ``Different governments are handling it differently.''

Fast-food giant McDonald's, which last year got $9.29 billion, or 23 percent, of its yearly systemwide sales of $40.18 billion in Europe, is still facing consumer skittishness over hamburgers in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, Conley said during an investor conference in New York sponsored by Merrill Lynch.

Mad Cow, formally known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), moved through British herds in the 1980s and since late last year has spread through several Continental European countries. A human form of the fatal brain-wasting disease is believed to be transmitted to people by eating tainted beef. No McDonald's products have been linked to the disease.

In the last week, another animal affliction, foot-and-mouth disease, was found in U.K. livestock, including cattle, sheep and hogs. The disease, which is highly contagious but rarely affects humans, has prompted several other European countries to destroy livestock imported from Britain as a precaution, though the disease has not been found on the Continent.

McDonald's saw its fourth-quarter profits fall 7 percent, due in part to European sales, which fell 10 percent to $2.21 billion from $2.45 billion the year-earlier period. European operating income fell 17 percent to $267.3 million from $322.2 million.

Conley did not mention foot-and-mouth during the presentation and company representatives were not immediately available for comment. The disease, which causes blisters in animals, can be fatal to younger livestock.

He also did not quantify the effect of the beef crisis on first-quarter sales. McDonald's recently abandoned its monthly sales update, he said, due in part to investors' tendency to focus too heavily on monthly trends. The next of the company's quarterly sales updates is due in about two weeks, he said.

In France, sales have ``largely recovered,'' as the company strengthens its quality message and promotes items such as chicken and fish, Conley said.

McDonald's added about 500 new restaurants throughout European in 2000, and hopes to add the same number this year, Conley said.

``The variety we provide on our menu serves us especially well,'' he added, ``allowing us to promote non-beef products.''

USA OUTLOOK

McDonald's also provided investors with an overview of its strategy for the U.S. business, where it aims to double U.S. sales of $19.57 billion in the next 10 years.

The company's stock has come under increased pressure in recent months, falling 65 cents to close at $29.40 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index by less than 5 percent in the past 12 months.

To drive up U.S. sales growth, McDonald's plans to push through more menu innovations and take advantage of a recently installed made-to-order food production system in its nearly 13,000 U.S. restaurants.

It recently married its food development and marketing functions to stress this focus, placing its top menu developer, Tom Ryan, in its top U.S. marketing post.

The company is also experimenting with ways to drive up service times, such as cash-free and kiosk-based ordering. It is still in an investment phase in its non-McDonald's brands, which in the United States include the Chipotle Mexian Grill, Donatos Pizza and Boston Market chains, Feldman said.

``We're making food the star,'' Alan Feldman, president of McDonald's U.S. business, told investors. ``We're balancing promotional efforts with an equally strong food focus, building a solid platform for ongoing stable growth.''


01 Mar 01 - CJD - Marker May Be Test for 'Mad Cow'-Like Diseases

Reuters Health

YAHOO--Thursday 1 March 2001


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Scientists at the research institute that produced ``Dolly'' the cloned sheep announced Wednesday that they may have found a way to test for ``Mad Cow''-like diseases in tissues outside the brain and spinal cord.

The finding may have a ``significant impact on the BSE drama,'' according to an editorial by Dr. Adriano Aguzzi, referring to the epidemic of Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), in some European countries.

Although BSE was originally thought to be a problem only in the UK, recent cases of the disease in cattle in other nations has sparked a furor across Europe.

In a series of experiments in mice, sheep and cows, Dr. Michael Clinton, from the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland, and colleagues found that the expression of a certain gene was lower in the infected animals' tissues than in healthy animals.

According to a report in the March issue of the journal Nature Medicine, Clinton's team tested the spleens of mice, bone marrow of cows, and the blood of sheep. The investigators found that expression of a gene called erthyroid differentiation-related factor (EDRF) was reduced in the infected animals.

All the animal species that were tested can become infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). This class of fatal, neurologic diseases include BSE in cattle, a disease called scrapie in sheep, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Such diseases are notoriously difficult to detect, particularly before symptoms begin, and usually require testing of tissue from the brain or spinal cord.

``To our knowledge, our findings represent the first demonstration of a TSE-induced effect on gene expression outside the central nervous system,'' the researchers conclude.

However, Aguzzi, who is at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, points out that ``several questions will need to be answered in order to establish the viability of an EDRF-based'' test.

It is not clear what the normal EDRF levels are in humans, he said, and at what point during the disease process that EDRF production is affected.

While a test may help in screening cattle, he notes that an elimination of cow brains, spinal cord and other ``risky'' tissue from the human food chain should help halt the spread of TSEs to humans. A test for humans may be the most important application, Aguzzi said. It is not clear how many people may have been infected with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease but are not yet showing symptoms.

``These individuals, who are infected but not yet displaying signs of disease, may unknowingly transmit the agent to others through donated blood or improperly sterilized surgical instruments,'' he writes.

``A simple, sensitive and reliable test for prion (the protein that causes TSEs) infection is needed to prevent the spread of disease.''

While there are many questions remaining, given the importance of the issue ``the answers to these questions may come quickly,'' Aguzzi concludes.

SOURCE: Nature Medicine 2001;7:289-290, 361-364


01 Mar 01 - CJD - Step Cited Toward Mad Cow Diagnosis

Associated Press

YAHOO--Thursday 1 March 2001


WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists in Scotland have found a first clue that may lead to a way to diagnose Mad Cow disease early in the infection.

Scientists have been seeking a means of diagnosing the disease, called BSE, and it's human form - new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - in order to prevent it from being spread by people and animals who do not yet show symptoms.

BSE has been spreading in Europe, leading to the slaughter of thousands animals and restrictions on meat sales.

Currently the disease can only be definitely diagnosed by examining tissue samples from the brain or, in the case of the human form, tonsils.

The team led by Michael Clinton and Gino Miele of the Roslin Institute in Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland, reports in the March issue of Nature Medicine that they have found that the a protein called EDRF is noticeably reduced in the blood of mice and sheep and the bone marrow of cows infected with the disease.

It is not clear how or why the presence of the brain-wasting disease causes this reduction, but if their findings prove consistent, it could provide the first easily identifiable marker for the infection.

BSE and its variants are believed to be caused by a prion, a type of protein that can adopt an abnormal form, causing it to accumulate in the brain and damage it.

While the disease itself remains fatal, early diagnosis is important to prevent its spread by eating infected animals and to block human spread through blood transfusion or improperly sterilized surgical instruments.

Besides Miele and Clinton, the research team included Jean Manson of the BBSRC Institute for Animal Health in Edinburgh, Scotland.


01 Mar 01 - CJD - EU summit unlikely to discuss BSE financing -Sweden

Reuters

NorthJersey.com--Thursday 1 March 2001


VIENNA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - European Union leaders are unlikely to discuss the budgetary implications of the Mad Cow crisis at their summit in Stockholm next month, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said on Tuesday.

``We don't foresee a discussion about budgetary effects of the so-called BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy),'' he told reporters in Vienna.

Persson, whose country holds the EU presidency, said some countries might want to raise the issue at the March 23/24 summit but he had not received any indications of this.

``We don't intend to put that on the agenda. That is the presidency's approach,'' he said.

European Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler has made clear that costs from the BSE crisis must be financed from within the EU's existing farm budget.


01 Mar 01 - CJD - France pledges BSE aid

Staff Reporter

CNN--Thursday 1 March 2001


PARIS, France (CNN) -- France has announced an aid package worth 1.4 billion French francs ($196m) to help French farmers hurt by the Mad Cow crisis.

About 40,000 farmers will be eligible to receive the aid after their herds were destroyed.

Farm Minister Jean Glavany unveiled the package after consumer fears about Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), triggered a drop in beef sales of nearly 30 percent in the European Union.

Glavany said: "The aim is to help those businesses that have been worst hit by the crisis and not to adopt a scatter-gun approach."

Aid would be limited to 30,000 francs ($4,000) per farm to prevent large holdings from soaking up the bulk of the compensation.

France has already spent billions of dollars on increasing cattle tests, banning meat-and-bone meal in all animal feed and taking other measures to fight the spread of the deadly, brain-wasting disease.

Tens of thousands of French farmers have seen revenues fall as consumers shunned beef because of fears over BSE and its human form -- variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD)

The human equivalent of the disease has killed at least 80 people in Britain and two in France.

The French farmers' union FNSEA cautiously welcomed the beef aid package but said it regretted the fact that larger farms would fare badly under the compensation deal.

"The government has finally responded positively to farmers' demands but it was only a partial response. Farmers are going to pay a high price for this crisis for which they are not responsible," FNSEA president Luc Guyau said.

Glavany said earlier this week that the European Commission had given its blessing to his plans to compensate French farmers for losses from the crisis.


01 Mar 01 - CJD - Food frights mount in Europe

Douglas Herbert

CNN--Thursday 1 March 2001


Foot-and-mouth outbreak is latest in a spate of European food scares

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain's foot-and-mouth crisis is the latest food scare to confound farmers across Europe.

The industry is still coming to terms with another scourge -- bovine spongiform ecephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease.

beef consumption slumped by 27 percent in the 15 member states of the European Union in the final quarter of last year, with Greece reporting the sharpest drop, about 50 percent.

An EU directive issued earlier this year requires all non-BSE tested cattle over 30 months to be destroyed - a measure that could affect up to two million animals.

The directive has stretched countries' ability to cope, provoked calls from farmers for more compensation, and led to the threat of greater backlogs of cattle carcasses tagged to be burned.

Now European consumers are likely to be even more nervous.

In the past few years, they have had to react to health warnings ranging from salmonella to e-coli and listeria contamination.

In 1999, the discovery of cancer-causing dioxin in food products in Belgium led many countries, including the U.S., to temporarily halt imports of Belgian butter, meat, eggs, fatty beef and pork and by-products from both Belgium and the EU.

Singapore refused to import Belgian, French and Dutch pork and poultry.

Hong Kong also barred the importation of meat and dairy products from Germany. The Belgian food industry said at the time the crisis cost the country $500 million.

In another scare linked to Belgium, Coca-Cola recalled 2.5 million bottles of soft drinks that originated in two Belgian factories after scores of children complained of stomach aches, nausea and headaches after drinking the product.

Coke subsequently apologised, but a spokesman for the company said at the time that tests had failed to turn up anything toxic in the beverages.

Food scares have often crossed the Atlantic, for instance when Europeans slapped a ban on imports of U.S. beef treated with growth hormones. The U.S. retaliated by imposing punitive tariffs on a range of European food products.

Even without BSE or foot-and-mouth disease, Europeans were already digesting the debate over the safety of genetically modified foods.

The fallout over gene-altered foods such as corn, rapeseed and soy has prompted many supermarkets to take a pre-emptive strike by voluntarily pulling such products from their shelves.

Some of the worst frights, however, have been provoked by BSE. Last year, just as Britain was hoping the worst of its Mad Cow crisis was over, France announced that potentially tainted beef may have wound up on supermarket shelves.

Britain's foot-and-mouth outbreak follows a hard-hitting British Government inquiry into the genesis of the BSE crisis.

Now the British farming industry is reeling from another staggering blow.


01 Mar 01 - CJD - Demand for beef down by almost one-tenth in Latvia

Indra Sprance

LETA--Thursday 1 March 2001


RIGA, Feb. 27 (LETA) - Demand for beef has decreased by 10 percent in Latvia in the past 6 months due to reports on BSE or Mad Cow disease, and its possible presence in Latvia, LETA was told by Agris Veide, board member at the Latvian Cattle Breeders Association.

The decline in demand has not affected farmers, however, since demand for domestic beef has been greater than supply until now.

According to Veide, beef producers stand a smaller risk of ascertaining BSE in their cattle herds than dairy producers. "If we assume that the incubation period is long, and cows that provide milk are fed more specialized feed than the cattle used in meat processing, the risk of ascertaining BSE by dairy farmers is much greater," said the specialist, adding that there is still no information in Latvia on what raw materials were used for making specialized feed for cows and calves.

The latest research conducted in Germany stated that calves could have been infected with BSE through use of milk substitutes, that were also imported into the Baltics in 1997.

Research shows that the cattle, when they were calves, were fed milk substitutes that contained animal proteins and fats, which could have been the source of the dangerous disease. German makers of milk substitutes have also exported their products to other countries, including the Baltic states. Taking into account that BSE incubation period is between 3 years and 6 years, it is said that BSE could be ascertained in Latvia already this year.

Veide said he hopes that BSE will not be discovered, and that farmers, the members of the association, are ready to undertake all necessary tests, as required by the State Veterinary Service.


01 Mar 01 - CJD - North American Meat Industry Wary of Disease

By Kanina Holmes

Phoenixaz.com--Thursday 1 March 2001


WINNIPEG Feb 27 (Reuters) - The panic over food safety and animal health that has hit Europe with Mad Cow disease and intensified with the recent outbreak of food-and-mouth disease is also sending shivers through the North American meat industry, top livestock market analysts said on Tuesday.

Analysts told the annual Grain World conference here that Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), and foot and mouth disease cases created export opportunities but also threats to U.S. and Canadian producers.

``If we find one BSE cow in North America, you could see a 30 percent fall in beef demand overnight and a U.S. $20 per hundredweight fall in fed cattle prices overnight,'' Jim Robb, director of the Colorado-based U.S. Livestock Marketing Information Center, told the industry forum.

``I think it's probably the major issue, from the big picture standpoint. It's the major risk that I hope doesn't happen in the marketplace,'' Robb said.

British officials confirmed on Tuesday that they had found four new cases of foot-and mouth disease, bringing the total to 16 since the virus, which can be spread through the air, and even on the soles of shoes, was discovered at a farm last week. Britain has banned exports of livestock and animal products because of the highly-contagious nature of the disease.

The virus is characterized by the development of blisters in the mouths and on the feet of cloven-hoofed animals. The disease poses little or no risk to humans, but can be fatal for younger cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.

As tension over the food-and-mouth disease outbreak grows and fears of the virus spreading throughout Europe mount, beef and pork producers here in North America say a similar crisis could sweep this side of the Atlantic.

``I think there's a very real risk here,'' Steve Meyer, director of economics at the Iowa-based National Pork Producers Council, said of the threat.

But U.S. and Canadian livestock exporters say they are reasonably confident that industry and government safeguards -- including a long-standing ban on European livestock, strict inspection systems and extensive emergency contingency plans -- will alleviate concerns.

However, in the event that food-and-mouth disease reappears on this continent -- the most recent outbreak in Canada was in the 1950s -- some say both countries are well positioned to deal with a crisis.

``One of the things is we have much larger countries than Europe does and so we could probably regionalize the disease if we could contain it,'' said Meyer.

But as one country, and possibly a whole region of the world stands to lose, a livestock crisis could also open up certain export markets, especially if the disease is not contained to Britain.

``I don't want to get too rosy about that but the possibility of some expanded export markets would have to exist I think,'' Meyer said, pointing to the possibility of more North American pork exports finding their way to Japan.

Taiwan announced on Monday that it had discovered fresh cases of food-and-mouth disease among hogs. Its livestock sector had still not fully recovered from a 1997 outbreak of the highly-contagious epidemic.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Danish specialists to discuss possible assistance in diagnosing BSE

Indra Sprance

LETA--Wednesday 28 February 2001


RIGA, Feb. 26 (LETA) - Representatives from the Danish Foreign Ministry will meet with specialists from the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday (February 28) in order to discuss assistance in the diagnoses of BSE or Mad Cow disease, LETA was informed by the ministry.

The Danish foreign ministry has offered assistance for efficient and speedy diagnosis of BSE - the training of farmers and veterinarians and drawing up a long-term plan of action.

During the meeting, the organization of training will be discussed.

Danish representatives have offered to draw up a plan of action for several years in order to prevent the spread of BSE in Latvia.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Latvia to wait for official conclusion on BSE case in Sweden

Indra Sprance

LETA--Wednesday 28 February 2001


RIGA, Feb. 26 (LETA) - The State Veterinary Service will not impose any import bans before receiving an official conclusion on the case of BSE or Mad Cow disease in Sweden, LETA was told by Vinets Veldre, director of the State Veterinary Service.

The specialists from the veterinary service will get in touch with Sweden today in order to clarify the situation with the BSE case discovered in western Sweden.

The Swedish agriculture ministry informed on Saturday (February 24) that the veterinary service has possibly ascertained the first BSE case in Sweden, whereas repeated testing of the cow's tissue indicated no infection.

Swedish Minister of Agriculture Margarita Winberg pointed out that Sweden has no grounds for concern on a widespread BSE because fodder made from fauna products has been forbidden since 1986.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Latvia to wait for official conclusion on BSE case in Finland

Indra Sprance

LETA--Wednesday 28 February 2001


RIGA, Feb. 27 (LETA) - The State Veterinary Service will not impose any import bans before receiving an official conclusion on the reported case of BSE or Mad Cow disease in Finland, LETA was told by Vinets Veldre, director of the State Veterinary Service.

Veldre pointed out that as with the situation pertaining to the BSE case in Sweden, an official conclusion will be awaited first.

In a farm northwest of Finland, a quarantine was announced because of disturbance of central nervous system ascertained in cows, that could indicate BSE.

Samples that were taken in the farm at Suomussalmi about 550 kilometers northwest of Helsinki, will be tested Tuesday. If they are positive, this will be the first BSE case registered in Finland.

Whereas the Swedish agriculture ministry informed on Saturday (February 24) that the veterinary service had possibly ascertained the first BSE case in Sweden. However, repeated testing of the cow's tissue indicated no infection.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - New surgical instruments could help reduce Risk of vCJD

Ananova

PA News--Wednesday 28 February 2001


A new range of disposable surgical instruments could help surgeons check the spread of the human form of Mad Cow disease.

tonsil removals were banned from UK hospitals at the beginning of this year because of the risk of contamination from the variant form of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease.

Many operations have been affected by the ban, with some parents paying up to 800 for new instruments to carry out tonsillectomies on their children.

Sheffield-based healthcare company B Braun Aesculap hopes its new, single-use instruments will be in use by April. It expects thousands of sets to be ordered each year.

Dr Pat Troop, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, told NHS Magazine: "The advice to address tonsillectomy operations at this stage was because this is a specific procedure usually applied to children, which involves a discreet set of instruments.

"This will allow us to learn valuable lessons should we decide to extend the use of single-use instruments to other procedures."


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Finland quarantines dairy farm in BSE scare

Ananova

PA News--Wednesday 28 February 2001


A dairy farm in Finland has been placed in quarantine because officials suspect it may have the country's first case of Mad Cow disease.

A cow on the farm near Suomussalmi, some 430 miles north of Helsinki, has been slaughtered for tests.

Fearing the country's fist case of BSE, the farm of 27 cattle has been sealed off, but is allowed to continue milk production.

Initial tests on the cow were expected to be completed within a few days.

Agriculture Minister Kalevi Hemila says the tests are routine, and it is unlikely that the cow has the disease.

"It's most unlikely the animal has BSE," Mr Hemila said. "We can't rule it out completely, but Finnish herds have a lower risk of getting Mad Cow disease than those in other European Union countries."

Finland, with a population of 5.2 million, has many small, isolated farms in one of Europe's most sparsely populated countries. Officials have tested 1,350 beef cattle but have found no signs of BSE.

Neighbouring Sweden last week feared a milk cow had contracted BSE after it suffered spinal damage when calving, but complete test results had not yet been released.

Some 80 people have died of the human form of the disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob, since the mid-1990s, mostly in Britain.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Amber Waves: Nothing yet decided in court concerning Oprah, Mad Cow disease

By Kay Ledbetter

Amarillo Globe--Wednesday 28 February 2001


It was three years ago that the cattlemen involved in the Oprah Winfrey lawsuit received the news that a jury did not find in their favor and that Winfrey and guests on her television show were only expressing their right to free speech.

The 1996 Winfrey show in question concentrated on the "Mad Cow" issue, and the cattlemen involved claimed it disparaged their business and the beef industry by insinuating there were equivalent problems right here in the United States.

The cattlemen were bringing into the mix of things for the first time a new law called the Texas' Disparagement of Perishable Food Products.

However, Judge Mary Lou Robinson eliminated that angle early on, saying cattle were not a perishable product.

The cattlemen, of course, disagreed and promptly filed an appeal, asking the U.S. 5th District Court of Appeals to question Robinson's elimination of that issue. The cattlemen lost again in appeal's court April 19.

However, the cattlemen did not wait for the appeal to run its course before they filed a similar lawsuit suing Winfrey in state court.

Same defendants - Winfrey, Howard Lyman and Harpo Productions Inc. - only this time the group of cattlemen, about 130 this time, wanted the "veggie libel" law to be considered, along with business disparagement and negligence laws.

It was only a short time after the suit was filed that Winfrey and Lyman's lawyers filed for removal from state court and threw the issue back before Robinson in federal court.

The last movement on the state-bound case was March 1999, with many saying the outcome would depend on the appeal's case. That ruling came and went almost a year ago, and still the issue has not been decided.

Basically, it's been five years and nothing has been finalized.

Cattle markets are rebounding once again, and a lot of money was spent trying to decide who was right and who was wrong.

However, the Texas' Disparagement of Perishable Food Products still has not gone before courts to be considered to its full extent and to see whether it will stand up.

The Mad Cow disease is once again in the news. Mad Cow is the catchy title given to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, which was suspected to be spread in Great Britain through the feeding of infected animal products.

It is routinely inspected for in the United States, and after 12 years of testing, has never been found here, although there are those who say it is only a matter of time.

And a lawsuit still exists that claims Winfrey and her guests need to be held accountable for what they said.

I wonder whether Winfrey still is "stopped cold" from eating a hamburger or any other beef products for that matter?

Kay Ledbetter is the Globe-News Assistant Regional Editor. She can be contacted at 1-800-692-4052 or by e-mail at: kledbetter@amarillonet.com


28 Feb 01 - CJD - The specifics of Mad Cow disease

Toshiaki Sato Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

Yomiuri Shimbun--Wednesday 28 February 2001


Mad Cow disease has flared up again in Europe, where outbreaks have been confirmed one after another in countries that had previously been given the all-clear sign. There has been no hint of the disease so far in Japan, but that does not mean the nation is immune. Humans can also contract the disease, caused by a type of protein called prion, with equally deadly consequences. Prion is a mysterious substance that is difficult to destroy due to its high resistance to heat and chemical change.

Mad Cow disease is so named because of the abnormal bovine behavior associated with it. The brains of infected cattle become spongelike and the animals begin to overreact to sounds and progressively lose their sense of balance, often reeling around as if intoxicated. The disease wreaked havoc in Britain from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, when about 37,000 cases were confirmed and 4 million more cattle were put down in a preventative measure.

The disease seemed to be on the ebb in recent years, but an outbreak in France last year affected about 100 cattle, more than triple the number of cases in that country in 1999. Concern has mounted as cases have been confirmed in countries such as Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria, which had never before been affected.

The deadly brain-wasting disease can be contracted by humans if they eat diseased beef, and causes the mutant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a form of lethal senile dementia that leaves human brains in the same spongelike state as those of cows. By the end of last year, there were 88 confirmed cases of humans contracting Mad Cow disease in Britain.

Prion is contained in the bodies of most mammals, including humans, cattle, mice and sheep, and although its role has yet to be determined, it is said to be related to the death of cells.

Both Mad Cow disease and mutant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are prion diseases and are caused by a mutant type of prion that accumulates in nerves in the brain and destroys cells.

These animals share a common amino acid, 80 to 90 percent of which is in the form of prion. It is the high percentage of this common amino acid that causes these diseases to spread between species.

It is thought that Mad Cow disease was triggered when the mutton of sheep that had died of a mutant prion disease was mixed into cattle feed.

The difference between normal and abnormal prion lies in the cubic structure that comprises the amino acid. When abnormal prion enters the human body, the normal type recombines on the basis of the abnormal one's structure and transforms itself into the abnormal type. The body's immune system ignores mutant prion because it misidentifies it as protein.

Kiyotoshi Kaneko, chief director of the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, said, "The abnormal prion tricks the human body into thinking it is harmless and then propagates. In fact, the abnormal prion is vicious and malignant."

Even if abnormal prion is boiled in water for more than half an hour, it retains its nefarious nature. Soaking it in formalin for three hours has no effect. Human digestive enzymes cannot dissolve it.

The parts of cattle thought to be most dangerous to eat are the brain, the spine and the eyeballs, areas where abnormal prion tends to accumulate. On the other hand, cuts from the shoulder and thigh, and its milk, are considered safe. It is not known how dangerous other parts are.

There is no cure for the disease as yet. It is thought that when the abnormal prion propagates itself, some sort of "catalyst" works to dissolve the cubic structure of normal prion. This catalyst is called "Protein X." Researchers are optimistic about finding a solution of the mechanism because, if they can check the role of Protein X, it will become possible to prevent more outbreaks.

Protein X has not been detected thus far. However, research has found that mutant prion without pathogenic organism, which is different from the abnormal prion, has a tremendous capacity to absorb Protein X.

To prevent Mad Cow disease from reaching Japan, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, which had previously imposed a total ban on imports of beef, organs and processed food from Britain, has expanded the edict to cover all EU countries. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has instructed pharmaceutical companies not to use these materials in medicines.

"These are the strictest measures we can take at the moment," said Prof. Takashi Onodera of Tokyo University's agricultural department, an immunology expert. "Considering the fact that we can't totally discount the possibility that the disease has entered Japan in the past, it is imperative that we conduct thorough research on cases where cattle have died of neurotic diseases in the past."

After an experiment on sheep, researchers pointed to the possibility that the prion disease could be transmitted by blood transfusion. Since there is no way of determining whether a human's blood is contaminated, Japan and the United States prohibit people who have stayed in Britain for more than six months from giving blood.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also has a policy that prohibits people who have stayed for more than 10 years in France, Portugal or Ireland from giving blood. The Japanese government is now considering adapting the same measures.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Spain's Fighting Bulls Stampeded by Mad Cow crisis

By Jess Smee

NorthJersey.com--Wednesday 28 February 2001


SOTO DE REAL, Spain (Reuters) - Standing in a muddy field near Madrid, Jose Luis Larrea watches a grazing herd of fighting bulls and hopes the Mad Cow crisis sweeping Spain will spare the national institution he loves.

As this year's bullfighting season hurtles into action, Larrea, 72, and other bullfighting enthusiasts fear measures taken to stem the spread of Mad Cow disease will cast a long shadow over the centuries-old tradition.

In line with new European Union laws for the disposal of cattle threatened by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), the carcasses of thousands of bulls killed each year in Spanish bullrings must be incinerated.

Traditionalists lament the rules designed to keep infected beef out of the food chain will deny Spaniards one of their prized dishes: the meat of freshly slain fighting bulls. It will also will deny bullfighters their traditional prizes: the bulls' ears and tails, awarded depending on the crowd's approval.

``It's a shame to change tradition. You feel very proud and satisfied when you are awarded an ear. It's like a footballer being given a trophy,'' said Jose Maria Plaza, who quit the ring after being gored in the leg. ``There's been talk of giving a replacement plastic or paper ear but that sounds absurd.''

Opponents of bullfighting, who consider it a cruel blood sport, have no sympathy. ``It's marvelous,'' said Alfonso Chilleron, president of Spain's National Association for the Protection and Welfare of Animals. ``The more troubles there are in the world of bullfighting, the better it is for the bulls.''

Thirty cases of BSE have surfaced in Spain since November, but so far fighting bulls have been spared. BSE has also put an end to another popular bullfighting souvenir, stuffed bulls' heads on plaques found on the walls of bars across Spain.

With bull carcasses sent directly to industrial incinerators, Spain's 30 taxidermy companies specializing in stuffing and mounting animals' heads will see their trade slump.

Ranchers argue that bulls are unlikely BSE victims as they graze on grass or eat high-quality cereals, not animal-based feeds blamed for the spread of the disease.

'NOT A MAD BULL IN THIS FIELD'

``There's not a mad bull in this field,'' said Larrea, a retiree who still works on a bull ranch near Soto Real outside Madrid. ``I don't need a test to tell me that.''

But, opting for caution, the government backs compulsory incineration of bulls killed in the ring until widespread Mad Cow testing is available to prove the meat is not tainted. EU rules say all cattle over 30 months should be tested for BSE or slaughtered. Fighting bulls are usually four to five years old.

The discovery of a single BSE case would result in the slaughter of a rancher's whole expensive herd.

``It would be a horrendous experience,'' said rancher Victor Aguirre, who expects more than 70 of his bulls to storm the ring this season, each boasting a price tag of nearly $4,000.

``Killing herds of bulls would mean the end of centuries and centuries of careful breeding,'' he said.

The outbreak also spells an end to farmers' earnings from selling the meat of slain bulls. Spain's some 3,000 bullfighting festivals every year send about 18,000 bulls into the food chain and just about all of the bull, except the horns, is eaten.

Even small Spanish towns and villages are feeling the pressure, and the high costs of incinerating bulls may pose problems for local annual fiestas.

Dishes such as bull's tail cooked in a wine and tomato sauce add to a growing list of European gastronomic traditions slain by the BSE crisis, following in the footsteps of the French entrecote, German sausage and Italy's Tuscan T-bone.

Carlos Blanco Navarro, owner of the Madrid-based restaurant Los Carriles, which specializes in the meat of fighting bulls, said he sold some 130 pounds of bull's tail every day during Madrid's famed San Isidro fiesta last year.

``But since the Mad Cow scare started (in November) people are frightened and I expect we'll sell far fewer tails,'' he said, adding that during one recent lunch hour he sold only four plates of the dish, far less than before the Mad Cow outbreak.

Spaniards have already had to cope with the disappearance of their beloved ``chuleton,'' huge wedges of beef on the bone that have been banned because of the risk of Mad Cow disease. The Spanish press recently bade an emotional farewell to the national dish with headlines such as ``Requiem to the T-bone.''


28 Feb 01 - CJD - IGEN, British researchers developing Mad Cow test

Reuters

YAHOO--Wednesday 28 February 2001


NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - British and American researchers are combining forces to develop a test for the "Mad Cow disease" that would allow screening of infected cows in slaughterhouses.

Gaithersburg, Md.-based IGEN International Inc.and London research firm D-Gen Ltd. said they have started a program to develop the new test. The effort will combine IGEN's detection system, called Origen, and expertise from D-Gen, a start-up founded by Imperial College, the U.K. Medical Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), moved through British herds in the 1980s and is now appearing in other European cattle, causing a scare among beef consumers around the world. A fatal human form, called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, has killed more than 90 people in Britain, France and Ireland.

The test being advanced by IGEN and D-Gen would use an assay, or an analysis system to determine the components of a substance, to test dead cattle for the disease before they are processed into beef products, the companies said. Using the test, producers could prevent the introduction of the infection into the food chain.

A spokesman for IGEN said other tests are already on the market but he believes the assay test in the works will provide a more accurate analysis.

Dr. John Collinge, the head of the Department of Neurogenetics at Imperial College and the director of the prion unit of the U.K. Medical Research Council, is helping to develop the test and has already devised a prototype analysis system.

Collinge and his colleagues were the first to establish that Mad Cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are caused by the same strain of prions, according to the companies. Prions are microscopic protein particles similar to a virus and thought to be the agent responsible for certain degenerative diseases of the nervous system. Some scientists believe that in cows infected with BSE and humans with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, prions change into a dangerous shape, causing the brain to deteriorate.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Finland probes first suspected Mad Cow case

By John Acher

Reuters---Wednesday 28 February 2001


HELSINKI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - A farm in northeastern Finland was quarantined after a cow showed signs of a nervous system disorder that could be the country's first case of Mad Cow disease, although officials presumed tests would be negative.

"The assumption at this stage is that this is a false alarm," Matti Aho, deputy director-general at the Agriculture Ministry, told Reuters on Tuesday, emphasising that the farm had been quarantined since Friday as a precaution.

"The veterinarian at the farm has decided that BSE-like symptoms cannot be ruled out," Aho said.

Aho said results of tests from the animal at the farm in Suomussalmi, around 550 km (330 miles) north of Helsinki, would be ready on Wednesday, not Tuesday as had been reported.

First reported by the regional paper Karjalainen on Tuesday and confirmed by officials later, the incident is the first suspected case of Mad Cow disease in Finland.

Finland had been one of few countries in Europe without a reported case of Mad Cow disease.

BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is a brain-wasting cattle disease which experts fear may be transmitted to humans. More than 80 people in Britain and two in France have died from the human form, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

A suspected BSE case was found in Sweden, like Finland a country considered at low risk for the disease, during the weekend, but tests showed it seemed to be a false alarm.

The Finnish Agriculture ministry said in a statement that the cow killed on Friday had been more than three years old. Aho said that meant it was theoretically possible that the animal could have the disease.

But the ministry said no other animal on the farm had shown symptoms, the farm had purchased no cattle in the past 15 years, and it last slaughtered cattle in October 2000.

Agriculture Minister Kalevi Hemila said on Tuesday that while the spread of the disease to Finland could not be ruled out, the risk was very low. "There are numerous cases like this each year because 20,000 animals a year are tested for BSE in Finland," Hemila said, according to Finnish news agency STT.

"This is a normal disease case that is showing symptoms, and about 100 similar check-up tests are made each year," Hemila said, according to STT.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Spain govt veterinarian expects 3-7 new cases weekly

Staff Reporter

FWN Financial---Wednesday 28 February 2001


London--Feb. 26--The director of Spain's national reference laboratory for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease, said Tuesday that he expects between three and seven new cases of BSE to appear per week for at least the near term, the EFE news agency reported Monday. Juan Jose Badiola made the forecast at a scientific conference at the University of Zaragoza. Spain has had 29 cases of Mad Cow disease since last November, when the first case was confirmed.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Two New Cases of Mad Cow Disease Found in France

Staff Reporter

Xinhua News Agency---Wednesday 28 February 2001


PARIS, Feb 26, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Two new cases of Mad Cow disease were found Sunday in Eastern France and 195 cows of the two concerned herds have been subsequently slaughtered on Monday.

The two cows, born in December 1994 and August 1995 respectively in the Prefecture of Vendee, eastern France, were found ill with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) during tests carried out by the French National Food Security Agency.

At least 18 new cases of BSE have been detected in France since the beginning of 2001.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - PluggedIn: Canadian technology to track cattle dangers digitally

By Susan Taylor

YAHOO--Wednesday 28 February 2001


OTTAWA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - To feed a growing appetite for the health history of cattle, a Canadian veterinarian has designed an Internet tracking system that follows cows from the barnyard gate to a consumer's plate.

Amid escalating concerns over the deadly Mad Cow disease, the developers of http://www.Viewtrak.com are selling the technology as a weapon to battle eroding consumer confidence, while also boosting beef production yields.

The brain-destroying illness Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has claimed more than 80 lives in Britain and France after people ate infected beef, and sent out economic shock waves to European markets rocked by export bans.

Fears of the disease also sparked a bitter three-week trade dispute as Canada banned imports of Brazilian beef. The embargo was lifted late last week by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico after scientists from the three NAFTA countries gave assurances that Brazil's cattle were safe from BSE.

Viewtrak.com takes aim at such diseases by tracking individual animals and any risks to which they may have been exposed.

The Internet database technology allows farmers to record electronic files of each cow's production history -- from breeding and origins to medications and feed -- onto unique tag numbers attached to the animal.

Under a program introduced in January, Canada requires every calf from the time it is born to sport an ear tag with an embedded electronic chip or bar code and its own identification number.

The nation's cattle industry set up the system to maintain the country's disease-free status and swiftly isolate and eradicate any disease outbreaks.

Many countries do not have such a mandatory program in place, though several major beef exporters -- including the United States, Argentina and Australia -- are considering such systems.

NOTHING TO HIDE

``Consumers should be able to know what production practices are used,'' said Viewtrak Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Jake Burlet, who runs the company and a 2,500-cattle ranch with his wife, Jennifer Wood. ``We in the industry don't have anything to hide. We want to be able to show that.''

There are several companies developing competing technology, but Burlet said he has a significant head start.

Cindy McCreath, spokeswoman for the Canadian Cattleman's Association and the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, agreed that Viewtrak is the ``furthest advanced'' system.

Web sites such as http://www.emergeinteractive.com and http://www.farms.com offer streams of market information and purchasing services to help beef farmers manage their business. But those sites do not track data on each animal in the $40 billion U.S. beef production business, because there is no national identification program in place.

Viewtrak's technology could eventually be used to trace cuts of meat back to a particular animal, said Burlet, who lives in the western Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta.

But that will take time, he said, because the tracking system is just starting to follow this year's crop of calves, which won't be slaughtered for at least 18 months.

Burlet predicts that shoppers will be able to take a steak to a kiosk in a grocery store and have the bar code scanned for ``the story'' on that piece of beef.

Retail analysts, however, are not certain whether consumers have an appetite for such detailed information or understand its significance.

Shoppers will more likely want simply to see a label that identifies beef as having met government standards and been graded free from antibiotics, for example.

``It is coming, folks,'' said Shirley Roberts, president of retail consultants Market-Driven Solutions Inc., who are predicting such labeling will hit Canadian shelves within five years. ``The issue is: What will consumers perceive to be safe?''

SAFETY SEEN AS KEY

For export-heavy countries such as Canada, a trustworthy reputation is critical. Recently, Japan said it will require all beef imports to be certified as free from disease, for example.

Canada, which exported more than 50 percent of its cattle in 2000, represents about 2.5 percent of the world's beef production, but 9 percent of total world exports.

``The first demand is... to better manage the animals through the system,'' said Ted Haney, president of the Canada beef Export Federation. ``Then it's a matter of beef processors working with retailers and with the consumers to see how far that information will extend toward the meat case.''

But Viewtrak, www.viewtrak.com, isn't the only Canadian company developing technology to protect animals and consumers from disease.

Since 1984, Toronto-area Anitech Enterprises Inc. (Vancouver:ANI.V - news) has sold data collection systems to pork slaughterhouses, where health concerns are most often discovered.

Terminals throughout a plant collect such data as a hog's weight, grade, and information from a veterinary analysis, said Anitech chief executive Paul Brown. Electronic files with that data are matched to a hog's identification tattoo.

That system, http://www.anitech.com/dt500, was converted to work with cattle tags and is now being tested at packing plants across Canada such as Guelph, Ontario's Better beef Ltd.

Packers use the system to determine which meat will most benefit their bottom line, while beef farmers can obtain real-time data on each carcass via the Internet to determine which production methods are boosting their yield.

``While the media is focused on the BSE side, the fact that people are going to be able to improve their bottom line will start driving a lot of this (technology) within the industry,'' said Brown.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - EU summit unlikely to discuss BSE financing -Sweden

Reuters

Altavista--Wednesday 28 February 2001


VIENNA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - European Union leaders are unlikely to discuss the budgetary implications of the Mad Cow crisis at their summit in Stockholm next month, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said on Tuesday.

``We don't foresee a discussion about budgetary effects of the so-called BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy),'' he told reporters in Vienna.

Persson, whose country holds the EU presidency, said some countries might want to raise the issue at the March 23/24 summit but he had not received any indications of this.

``We don't intend to put that on the agenda. That is the presidency's approach,'' he said.

European Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler has made clear that costs from the BSE crisis must be financed from within the EU's existing farm budget.


28 Feb 01 - CJD - Public assured on Mad Cow disease

By Shianee Mamanglu

Manila Bulletin--Wednesday 28 February 2001


There is no mad-cow disease or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the Philippines, health authorities assured the buying public yesterday.

Dr. Eric Tayag, head of infectious disease cluster-E in the Department of Health, said that since November last year, the Philippine government has been seeing to it that contaminated meat or meat products from BSE countries are not allowed into the Philippines.The BSE countries include Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Germany.

"Shipments that arrived after the ban were rejected, just like what happened in Cebu," Dr. Tayag disclosed, but did not rule out the possibility that shipments that entered the country before the ban might have been contaminated.

Tayag explained that the primary reason cattle in Europe were affected was that they were given feed processed from sick animals.

As the lead agency, the Department of Agriculture, he said, will continue to monitor and investigate deaths among homegrown cows, to rule out the possibility of indigenous BSE.

While there are no methods that would detect infected meats from those that are not, he said, the government will remain watchful and the ban, which was imposed in November last year, will remain in effect.

Angara

Former secretary of agriculture Edgardo J. Angara urged the government yesterday to form an inter-agency task force that would zero in on beef and beef byproducts from Europe, which is currently being plagued by the mad-cow disease.

Angara, a senatorial candidate of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Puwersa ng Bayan (LDP-PnM), said that customs and port authorities should coordinate with the Department of Agriculture's quarantine personnel to make sure no contaminated meat and by-products slips out of the sea and airports.

Angara was the agriculture secretary who ordered the November ban on beef imports and byproducts from European countries reported to have been affected by the mad-cow disease. Despite protests from agricultural exporters, Angara had stood firm against the entry of meat and other products covered by alert notices from international agencies monitoring the spread of animal diseases.

"There should be no wavering and tentativeness where national safety is concerned. The operative word here is vigilance," said Angara.

Angara said that he ordered the ban on beef imports from European countries right after the first alert was issued on a mad-cow threat in that continent.

The order asked all veterinary and quarantine officers in airports and seaports to confiscate all beef imports from Europe.

The Bureau of Animal Industry was also ordered to deny all requests for clearances for beef purchases from that continent.

The Philippines imports a substantial volume of beef from Europe, most of it going to so-called "institutional users" like meat processing firms and canning companies.

The country also imports meat by-products which are being used as animal feed ingredients.

Refrain

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte urged the people yesterday to refrain from eating beef and similar meat products in the face of the mad-cow disease which attacks the nervous system now rampaging Europe and elsewhere in the world.

He chastised an admission that state agencies concerned do not have the facilities with which to prevent a possible outbreak of the animal ailment which experts said could contaminate and endanger humans. Medial reports showed several people died after eating the contaminated meat in Britain.

Belmonte asked the Bureau of Customs to stop the importation and seize those that have entered ports and other points of entry, and to incinerate immediately three tons of boneless beef from Ireland that were seized by quarantine officers in Cebu.

The leader of the House of Representatives cited a ban on meat importations from Ireland and elsewhere due to the madcow disease outbreak last year.

"There is no safer way to dispose of the seized meat than to burn the product," he said. "Failure could allow the seized products to be smuggled out to find their way to the open market not only in Cebu but in other parts of the archipelago."


26 Feb 01 - CJD - EU Commission sees no more money to compensate farmers over meat crisis

Ananova

PA News--Monday 26 February 2001


BRUSSELS (AFX) - The European Commission will not propose spending more money to compensate farmers for losses caused by the crisis in the meat production sector, Commission spokespersons said.

They were speaking before agriculture ministers later today review the panoply of measures the EU has taken to counter the pan-European BSE crisis and the emerging foot and mouth disease, and as police deployed water cannon around the European institutions' buildings here against protesting farmers.

Commission health spokeswoman Beate Gminder said the Commission is satisfied with the measures the UK is taking against the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

Countries to which UK livestock may have been exported in the last three weeks are also called on to trace their animals' destinations, she said.

This particularly applies to France, Germany and the Netherlands, she said.

Commission farm spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber said that the Commission has already arranged for a supplementary budget to be spent in countering the effects of the Mad Cow crisis. The money came from within the EU's budget but beyond that "the Commission's pockets are empty," he said.

Commission spokesman Jonathan Faull said the last EU summit, in Nice in December, agreed no more money would be given in compensation for the crisis. "The Commission must respect the political decisions of the 15," he said.


26 Feb 01 - CJD - Farmers battle police as EU discusses BSE crisis

Ananova

PA News--Monday 26 February 2001


Belgian farmers have clashed with riot police in Brussels after the EU turned down their request for emergency aid .

They wanted ministers to prop up beef prices which plummeted because of the BSE crisis.

Protesters hurled eggs and fireworks at police guarding the building where EU agriculture ministers were meeting to discuss the crisis.

Police responded by drenching farmers with water from high pressure hoses but no arrests have been reported. Police sealed off the area around EU headquarters before the meeting began.

About 2,000 farmers gathered in the Belgian capital to demand help for beef producers facing economic ruin. beef sales have plummeted more than 20% since the outbreak of Mad Cow disease on the continent last year.

In a brief meeting with the farmers, Swedish Agriculture Minister Margareta Winberg, whose country holds the EU presidency, turned down a demand for unspecified emergency spending.

"Agriculture ministers have no mandate to raise the budget. It would not be right for me to tell you otherwise," Ms Winberg told the farmers.

Hundreds more farmers were en route from France to join the protest in Brussels.

Farmers parked hundreds of tractors along streets near the EU headquarters, snarling traffic throughout the capital.

Elsewhere, Belgian farmers set up blockades at various road intersections across the country and border entry points.

The commission was also due to discuss the growing foot-and-mouth crisis in the UK.


26 Feb 01 - CJD - Clashes Ahead of EU Talks on BSE, Foot-And-Mouth

Reuters

NorthJersey.com--Monday 26 February 2001


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Angry farmers clashed with riot police on Monday ahead of European Union talks over the dual threat to livestock businesses from Mad Cow and foot-and-mouth disease.

Police, who set up a ring of steel around the EU headquarters, fired water cannon to disperse protesters trying to break down barbed-wire barriers.

Some arrests were made.

The farmers fear the crises, which both originated in Britain, could have a devastating effect on already squeezed farm incomes.

They want compensation to cover the cost of measures introduced by the EU to tackle Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow disease.

EU ministers were due to meet from 1400 GMT to monitor progress in combating the spread of BSE, but the talks were likely to be overshadowed by the confirmed outbreaks in Britain of the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease.

Britain's Agriculture Secretary, Nick Brown, has warned that the disease might have crossed the Channel after a new case was found on Sunday among cattle at a farm in southwest England that exported sheep to continental Europe.

Brown was due to make a statement to the British parliament before heading for the meeting with his EU colleagues.

Farmers earlier used hundreds of tractors in slow-moving convoys to block roads into the Belgian capital and in northern France, causing chaos for early morning commuters.

French farmers also staged ``Mad Cow'' demonstrations at a number of northern ports, including Cherbourg and St Malo, dumping piles of farm waste in front of government buildings.

France has indicated it will step in to help farmers if the EU fails to release compensation funds, but agricultural unions said they wanted coordinated action.

``Today the farmers are showing they can block everything if need be,'' said Christian Consille, a leader of the FDSEA farming union.

EU ministers will discuss plans to slaughter millions of older cattle and changes to the way EU aid is given to beef farmers, in a bid to encourage less intensive production.

EU diplomats say several governments oppose many of the proposals, estimated to cost more than one billion euros ($910 million) next year, aimed at cutting production to avoid the build-up of costly new beef mountains.


26 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad ban

Staff Reporter

National Post--Monday 26 February 2001


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced an end to its ban on Brazilian beef products late last week. Canadian scientists who travelled to Brazil two weeks ago found no evidence that cows in that country are infected with Mad Cow disease. This was no surprise, of course, since the ban itself was not prompted by any evidence of Mad Cow disease in Brazil but rather some missing paperwork. As was obvious from the start, the ban was a poorly disguised political manoeuvre that has needlessly poisoned Brazil-Canada relations and tarnished our international reputation as a free trading nation.

Despite many obvious coincidences, Ottawa officials and some columnists repeatedly claimed there was no relationship between the decision to ban Brazilian beef and the ongoing trade dispute between our two countries over jet aircraft. But the circumstances of the rescission are even more suspicious than the ban itself. Early last week, government officials were warning Brazil it will take until March before a final assessment could be made on Brazilian cattle. Accepting the government line that the ban was purely a scientific exercise, it stood to reason there would need to be much careful analysis.

Then last Friday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which had never been convinced of the need for a ban but was forced to go along because of its NAFTA obligations, gave Brazilian beef an unconditional clean bill of health. Following this, the Canadian scientists were miraculously able to complete their assessment a mere hour later. If the beef ban was all about following scientific protocol, why did weeks of work suddenly get completed in an hour? Answer: Because the ban was always about politics. With Brazil threatening an all-out trade war and the United States disproving its alleged basis, the ban had become indefensible.

Science, politics and trade have been intertwined for 120 years; little has changed since the 1880s when European nations raised bogus public health barriers to keep out cheap farm products from the New World. The Mad Cow scare was just another attempt to use public health concerns as a trade weapon. And when the United States didn't play along, the Canadian government was forced precipitously and ignominiously to abandon the plan.

Besides demonstrating poor judgment on the part of Canadian officials, this episode also raises the possibility of big problems for Canada's economic future -- because what goes around, comes around. Consider that also last week the Agriculture Commissioner in Vermont raised the spectre of a trade war over maple syrup by repeating a rumour he had heard about Quebec maple syrup harvesters using a banned chemical. Note the similarities with Canada's reasons behind the beef ban. Some missing documentation here, a rumour of rule-breaking there. By dispensing with the need for any actual proof in such disputes, Canada has opened the door to even greater use of pseudo-scientific trade retaliation tactics.

As a small economy in a large global market, Canada's growth and success depends on its ability to export. It is in our best interests to act as a kind of international Boy Scout when it comes to trade disputes. Our conduct should be above reproach and an example for all other nations. Using a trumped-up Mad Cow scare to cudgel Brazil over jet airplanes calls into question our commitment to free trade and gives anti-trade forces another weapon with which to close borders. The unfortunate effects of the Brazilian ban will linger long after tins of corned beef begin re-appearing on Canadian shelves.


26 Feb 01 - CJD - Clinic Tests Breast Milk for Mad Cow Disease

Reuters

YAHOO--Monday 26 February 2001


VIENNA (Reuters) - An Austrian hospital is testing the breast milk from women aged 30 years and above to check whether the human form of Mad Cow disease has infiltrated their bodies.

Scientists at the Innsbruck University clinic are running the checks to seek evidence of prions that trigger Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or its human form, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Prions are proteins that are normally benign but which can take on a misshapen form that may damage the brain.

The Innsbruck clinic has long been testing human milk for any impurities such as dioxin and lead, and amid the current Mad Cow crisis, decided to expand tests to search for BSE prions as well.

Wolfgang Lechner, a doctor at the clinic, told Reuters that women older than 30 were being tested as the odds were greater that they may have already eaten BSE-infected beef.

All tests had proved negative so far, he added.

Austria is one of the few countries in Europe without a reported case of Mad Cow disease. More than 80 people in Britain and two in France have died from vCJD.


26 Feb 01 - CJD - Farmers, police clash ahead of EU crisis talks

Greg Frost

Altavista--Monday 26 February 2001


BRUSSELS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - European Union farm ministers began crisis talks on Monday on how to tackle Mad Cow and foot-and-mouth disease as angry farmers clashed with riot police in the Belgian capital.

Police set up a ring of steel around EU headquarters and fired water cannon to disperse protesters trying to break down barbed-wire barriers. Some arrests were made.

Farmers, who pelted police lines with eggs, bottles and stones, fear that the crises, which both originated in Britain, will devastate already squeezed farm incomes.

British officials said they would inform EU partners of measures taken to contain the foot-and-mouth outbreak and evaluate the potential risk to farmers in mainland Europe.

``Any information that we have on exports after February 1 will be made available to the governments concerned,'' a British farm official told journalists in Brussels.

``This disease is nobody's friend. Our EU partners appreciate the situation we're in. They fully appreciate the measures we have taken and how fast this disease can spread.''

The European Commission said it was satisfied with the steps taken in Britain but the possibility of foot-and-mouth spreading beyond British shores still existed.

``We have never excluded that possibility,'' said Beate Gminder, spokeswoman for EU Food Safety Commissioner David Byrne, who was to attend the ministerial meeting with Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler.

Farmers are demanding more compensation to cover the cost of measures proposed by Fischler to tackle Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease.

CONTINENT ON EDGE

The talks were originally scheduled to focus on BSE and how to rescue Europe's beef market from collapse but were overshadowed by the rising number of confirmed cases in Britain of the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

German and Dutch authorities ordered animals imported from Britain to be slaughtered as a precaution against the disease, which affects sheep, pigs and cattle but is not believed to pose a threat to humans. Irish farmers, who rely heavily on exports, said an FMD outbreak there would be a disaster.

UK agriculture minister Nick Brown has said the disease might have crossed the Channel after a new case was found on Sunday at a farm in southwest England that exported sheep to continental Europe.

He confirmed three more cases of the disease on Monday afternoon, bringing the total found over the past week to 12.

Brown was due to arrive in Brussels later on Monday, but officials said it was unclear whether he would speak to his EU counterparts on arrival or would wait until Tuesday morning.

Farmers earlier used thousands of tractors in slow-moving convoys to block roads into the Belgian capital, causing chaos for early morning commuters.

More than 500 farmers blocked the borders between France and Belgium. Others demonstrated at several locations in Belgium.

French farmers also staged demonstrations at northern ports including Cherbourg and St Malo, dumping piles of farm waste in front of government buildings.

France has indicated it will step in to help farmers if the EU fails to release compensation funds, but agricultural unions said they wanted coordinated action.

EU ministers will discuss plans to slaughter millions of older cattle and changes to the way EU aid is given to beef farmers, in a bid to encourage less intensive production.

EU diplomats say several governments oppose many of the proposals, estimated to cost more than one billion euros ($910 million) next year, which are aimed at cutting production to avoid the build-up of costly new beef mountains. (Additional reporting by Paris bureau)


26 Feb 01 - CJD - UK builds 5th power plant to burn cattle carcasses

By Pete Harrison

YAHOO--Monday 26 February 2001


LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Britain, which has began burning livestock carcasses to contain a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, said on Monday a new power plant under construction would burn the remains to generate electricity.

The Intervention Board (IB), a government agency, said the plant at Fawley on the South Coast of England would be the country's fifth cattle-burning plant under a European Commission sponsored scheme to deal with BSE, or Mad Cow disease.

A similar plant in Scunthorpe currently produces enough power to light 70,000 homes.

"We've commissioned a new plant from (waste disposal company) Shanks , which will be coming online in August," an IB spokesman said.

Under the Over 30 Month Scheme (OTMS) introduced by the European Commission in 1996 to tackle BSE, all healthy British cows over 30 months old are reduced to a fine meat and bonemeal powder which is burned in four power plants.

Since 1996, when the scheme started, about 4.9 million cows have been rendered down, generating a mountain of meat and bonemeal that presently stands at 441,000 tonnes, the IB spokesman said.

So far, 158,000 tonnes of cattle have been burned under contracts with three companies: Fibrowatt, Prosper de Mulder (PDM) and Shanks. Fibrowatt's 38 megawatt plant at Scunthorpe came on line in May 2000, while PDM's two plants came on line in July and September 2000.

The IB spokesman said that by the end of March 2002, about 60 percent of the meat-and-meal mountain would be burned, with the balance burned by March 2004. The cows incinerated are generally dairy cattle at the end of their productive lives.

Restrictions over the movement of livestock, because of foot-and-mouth disease, have currently brought the OTMS scheme to a standstill.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food said there was currently no possibility of incinerating foot-and-mouth infected livestock to produce electricity.

"You have to balance the risk of transporting them in lorries and spreading the infection against doing something on the farm such as burning or burying," she said.

"We might look at rendering (turning them into meat and bonemeal) later on, if relevant," she added.

The foot-and-mouth outbreak, first discovered almost a week ago, spread through Britain's farms on Monday as vets slaughtered and burned hundreds of pigs and cows in a desperate attempt to contain the highly contagious animal virus.


26 Feb 01 - CJD - ICMSA seeks rejection of CAP reform plans

Staff Reporter

YAHOO--Monday 26 February 2001


The ICMSA has called on the Minister for Agriculture to reject EC proposals to cut direct payments to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy. ICMSA President Pat O'Rourke said Joe Walsh will face the wrath of Irish farmers if he fails to express Ireland's total opposition to the proposals. Mr O'Rourke said Ireland cannot be expected to finance the CAP at a time when farmers are facing ruin because of the ongoing BSE crisis.

Mr O'Rourke said: "The proposals to change the suckler cow premium rules, the reduction in the stocking density limit and the individualisation of the special beef premium being proposed by the EU Commission will all impact disproportionately on Irish producers. Minister Walsh will have to ensure that the interests of Irish beef producers are fully protected during these negotiations and that the family farm structure in Ireland is fully protected."


26 Feb 01 - CJD - EU ministers in crisis talks over BSE and foot-and-mouth

Staff Reporter

YAHOO--Monday 26 February 2001


EU agriculture ministers are set to push the European Commission for financial assistance for beef producers in the wake of the BSE crisis

However, Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler has made it clear that no new money is on offer to compensate farmers.

Instead, he will propose a massive reform of the EU beef sector, including a reduction in output, say officials.

Before the meeting, hundreds of mostly Belgian farmers protested in Brussels causing severe traffic problems.

Police have placed a chain of barbed wire barricades in the streets near the EC HQ to prevent farmers from disrupting the ministerial meeting.

A last-minute addition to the farm ministers' agenda concerns yet another crisis in European agriculture: last week's outbreak in Britain of foot-and-mouth disease.

British agriculture Minister Nick Brown will brief his colleagues on what he has done to curb the spread of the disease that has halted all exports of live animals, meat and dairy products from Britain.

The ban is expected to cost farmers millions of pounds in lost sales and may bankrupt some.

In response to the disease in Britain, other EU countries have imposed livestock transport restrictions and quarantined animals imported from Britain before the foot-and-mouth disease was discovered there.

Meanwhile, the BSE crisis shows no sign of abating. Demand for beef has plunged 27% across the EU after an upsurge in reported cases in several countries in recent months and the sale in France of a batch of potentially infected meat.


25 Feb 01 - CJD - Slack Sales, Mad-Cow Disease Worries Hurt McDonald's

Evening Standard, London

Hotel Online--Sunday 25 February 2001


The beleaguered Burger King chain has one thing going for it; golden arches rival McDonald's is hardly fighting from a position of strength.

After spending $190 million (UKpound 131 million) to upgrade kitchens to provide consumers with custom-made food -- something Burger King has been doing for years -- McDonald's sales are lacklustre. Net income declined 7 percent in the fourth quarter when Mad Cow disease concerns spread across Europe. Currency woes added to the misery and McDonald's reported its first earnings-per-share decline in 36 years of Wall Street listing.

The burger giant says it expects earnings this year to improve, rising to 13 percent but that is before adjusting for currency. If the dollar stays high the gains will be considerably lower.

Facing saturation in home markets with its flagship chain, McDonald's has been on an acquisition binge. Its most recent purchase, a one-third share in British sandwich shops chain Pret a Manger, is consistent with other higher-end chains it has bought in recent years.

Last year, McDonald's bought Boston Market, the chicken restaurant, and it also owns Aroma Cafe.